Management Challange

Top 5 Mistakes Managers Make: Communicating Poorly

Management Challenge Program Designer Kate McLagan is penning our latest blog series “Top 5 Mistakes Managers Make”. Over the next five weeks, Kate will explore these critical mistakes that managers make in their relationships with their direct reports. Read on for Part 2: Communicating Poorly. Click here to read last week’s blog, Mistake #1: Lack of Feedback.

Manager Mistake #2: Communicating Poorly

Managers need to be able to communicate, build relationships and work with individuals at all levels and their behavior and interpersonal skills can affect others both positively and negatively. We often see managers focus on a one-way flow of words rather than a dialogue. They tell instead ask, and blame rather than solve problems. In addition, they tend to communicate too much about the past and what went wrong rather than the present and future.

Engaging employees in focused conversations about performance is at the heart of the management process. Good conversations that lead to mutual understanding and clear action are the most effective ways to get results and build relationships. Employees’ opinions matter, and it is highly motivational when their input is sought. Key conversations between a manager and employee lead to clarity in direction and a sense of shared ownership. The quality of these conversations is determined by the manager’s ability to listen, probe, ask questions and communicate regarding key skills underlying all types of coaching scenarios.

Avoid This Mistake:

  • Set clear expectations
  • Observe behavior and give feedback (balance effective and deficient)
  • Learn about individual needs and motivational drivers
  • Coach to change undesirable behaviors and increase desired behaviors

Top 5 Mistakes Managers Make: Lack of Feedback

Management Challenge Program Designer Kate McLagan is penning our latest blog series “Top 5 Mistakes Managers Make”. Over the next five weeks, Kate will explore these critical mistakes that managers make in their relationships with their direct reports. Read on for Part 1: Lack of Feedback.

Manager Mistake #1: Lack of Feedback

Today’s workplace is a feedback desert. Feedback often comes in the form of a once-a-year, awkward, 45-minute conversation with your boss. Without ongoing feedback throughout the year, it is nearly impossible for employees to know where they stand in the company. Employees need to know what you expect them to do, how well you expect them to do, and when you expect them to do it.

They need regular, specific feedback on performance – where they’re excelling and where they need to improve. As a manager, you have to communicate to your employees the insights you have from your vantage point. Your employees cannot grow professionally if you do not relay to them where they are performing well and where they could be better.

They need to understand how their work fits into the overall mission and purpose of the business unit as well as the company. Help your employees see the big picture so that they feel connected to the company’s success. For example, when you delegate a task to an employee, explain to them why the task is necessary, not just in the short term, but for reaching company goals.

They need to know their level of authority: what decisions they can make on their own and when to involve others. Empower your people to do what they were hired to do, while setting clear guidelines for when they should consult with you.

Providing ongoing feedback gives your employees a window into your thought process. When everyone is clear on what is expected of them and how well they are performing, managers and employees can work together towards improvement.

Avoid This Mistake:

  • Frequency of feedback should be based on individual needs
  • Specific feedback tied to performance should set clear expectations
  • Employees must know their level of authority